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The late Harvey Milk was a very powerful LGBT activist and is still fondly remembered today for his part in our struggle for equal rights. Traditionally, people celebrate and honor those who fought for our equality on Harvey Milk Day, which is May 22 (his birthday). Now, with the help of his nephew, Stuart Milk, who created the Harvey Milk Foundation, there will be two events that will be held in Florida this month that strive to honor Milk’s memory and recognize the work of the people who picked up the torch after his death.

DIVERSITY HONORS

The Harvey Milk Foundation and The Pride Center at Equality Park will present the very first Diversity Honors, the first of the two Florida events, which will be held on Saturday, May 9 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. This special event will recognize many local and national leaders in the LGBT rights struggle and how they have positively impacted the LGBT community.DiversityHonors_copy1

The event will be emceed by Craig Stevens from WSVN-TV FOX 7. Honorary event hosts include Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Wilton Manors Mayor Gary Resnick, Broward County Mayor Tim Ryan, Senator Bill Nelson, and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler. Joey Arias, a performance artist and cabaret singer who worked with the late avant-garde musician Klaus Nomi, and performed with Raven-O and Sherry Vine, will serve as the headlining entertainer at the event.

“The Harvey Milk Foundation is proud to make history along with the Pride Center at Equality Park to debut this event, which will celebrate the power and resolve of adversity,” Stuart Milk said when announcing details regarding this event. “There has been a tremendous amount of progress for equal rights and acceptance around the world, but we have a lot more work to do. This event will allow us to showcase our achievements and celebrate those who have and continue to advocate for equality.”

Judy and Dennis Shepard will be at the Diversity Honors event to receive the special Harvey Milk Honors Medal. Judy Shepard started the Matthew Shepard Foundation with her husband Dennis after the tragic murder of her son Matthew in 1998 led her to take action in the hope that no other mother in the world would have to lose a child the way she did. The Matthew Shepard Foundation is focused on diversity awareness and education, social justice, and ultimately full equality for all LGBT people.

Local honorees, described as “South Florida forces for change,” who will also be honored at this event include Canadian R&B recording artist Deborah Cox, now a Miami resident; Rand Hoch, president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC); Jazz Jennings, student, activist, author and co-founder of the Transkids Rainbow Foundation; Miami Beach celebrity female impersonator Elaine Lancaster (James Davis); Lillian Tamayo, CEO of Planned Parenthood of South Florida; William Thomas, Judge from the 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida; and Dean Trantalis, Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner.

Tickets cost $150 per person and corporate tables are priced at $2,500 for a table of ten seats. To purchase your tickets, you can go online to diversityhonors.com. Hotspots Media Group is proud to be a sponsor of Diversity Honors. 

HARVEY MILK DIVERSITY BREAKFAST

The GLBT Community Center of Central Florida (The Center) and The Harvey Milk Foundation will present their annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, which will be held this year at the Orlando Museum of Art on Monday, May 11, with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. and the breakfast starting at 8 a.m.DiversityHonors_copy2

Stuart Milk, president of the Harvey Milk Foundation, will be in attendance for this event. This year, The Center and the Harvey Milk Foundation are recognizing five Central Florida community leaders for the work they’ve done in furthering LGBT equality in Orlando and in the surrounding areas.

This year’s honorees include Gina Duncan, the transgender inclusion director at Equality Florida and the driving force behind Equality Florida’s TransAction initiative; Wes Featherston, an architect and a founding member of Process Architecture; Bob Leblanc, a judge on the 9th Circuit Court; Tiffany Moore Russell, the Orange County Clerk of Courts; and a final honoree who will be given a Lifetime Achievement Award. The final honoree’s identity is under wraps until they are surprised with the award on the day of the breakfast.

Tickets are on sale right now for the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast and can be purchased online by going to thecenterorlando.org. Tickets are priced at $45 per person and a table of eight, for purchase by companies, is on sale for $360. Sponsorships are available for purchase as well on the website: sponsorships are two-tiered, with the gold sponsorship priced at $600 and the platinum sponsorship priced at $1,250. If you have any questions regarding sponsorships for your business, call (407) 228-8272.

For more information on the Harvey Milk Foundation, visit milkfoundation.org. For more information on The Pride Center at Equality Park, visit pridecenterflorida.org. For more information on the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, visit thecenterorlando.org.